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Tendon Ruptures from Cipro and Levaquin

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Many factors can lead to the rupture of a tendon, from weak muscles to substandard footwear. In addition, certain medications, namely corticosteroids and fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs such as Cipro and Levaquin, can weaken the tendons and lead to serious injuries. Hundreds of people have experienced tendinitis, tendon rupture and other side effects of these drugs.

When a drug is found to be a contributing factor to injury or disease, the companies involved in the manufacture and/or distribution of the drug may be held liable in a civil suit. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of taking Cipro, Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone, contact a lawyer specializing in personal injuries who can help evaluate your situation and determine whether you may be eligible for compensation.

Side Effects of Fluoroquinolones – Cipro and Levaquin

When used properly, Cipro and Levaquin can be very effective. As with any drug, however, they also have side effects. The chart below shows some of the side effects associated with these drugs.

Levaquin Cipro
Most Common Other Most Common (Occasional) Other







Tendon rupture

Allergic reactions

Central nervous system disorders


Abnormal heart rhythm

Photosensitivity (sun sensitivity)

Blood glucose

(liver damage)

Changes in sensation

Nerve damage








Candida vaginitis

Associated colitis

Allergic reactions (some severe)

QTc prolongation

Liver failure

Peripheral neuropathy

Crystalluria Photosensitivity
(sun sensitivity)


Interstitial nephritis

Sources: U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Johns Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center


Tendon Rupture

Over the past decade, hundreds if not thousands of people have sustained tendon injuries — most notably ruptures of the Achilles tendon — as a result of taking Cipro and Levaquin.

The Achilles tendon is a large, strong, fibrous tendon linking the muscles of the calf to the heel bone. Rupturing this tendon can be extremely painful and often requires rehabilitation, surgery or both.

FDA Black Box Warnings

Faced with overwhelming evidence of tendon-related side effects, as well as a lawsuit, in mid-2008 the FDA issued a Public Health Alert, began developing Medical Guides for doctors and patients, and notified the manufacturers of fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs that "black box" warnings would need to be added to the packaging of their drugs. Black box warnings, or simply Boxed Warnings, are the FDA's most serious and visible form of alert. Many drugs with black box warnings are later recalled.

Manufacturers of drugs that prompt black box warnings and/or recalls are often the subject of defective drug lawsuits. Though the FDA plays a role in regulating drugs and keeping the public informed, the manufacturers are still responsible for any defects in their drugs.

Those who have ruptured the Achilles tendon usually hear a snap or pop sound, followed by intense pain in the heel and difficulty walking. If you are experiencing swelling or pain around the heel and suspect you have suffered a rupture or other injury to the Achilles tendon, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.

Patients over 60 years old, in addition to those who have had a heart, lung or kidney transplant, are at highest risk of suffering a tendon rupture from fluoroquinolone use.

When a medication is found to pose a substantial risk of harming patients, increased warnings and/or a recall is warranted. Actual harm caused by the drug may be grounds for bad drugs lawsuits.

Cipro and Levaquin Lawsuits

Fluoroquinolones such as Cipro and Levaquin can be quite effective for certain conditions. They are among the mostly commonly prescribed drugs for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and certain other conditions. However, consumer advocates claim that in many cases fluoroquinolones have been promoted and prescribed as a first-line treatment for conditions that are more properly treated with other medications.

In addition, they have been linked to several tendon conditions, including tendon rupture, which can be extremely painful — sometimes requiring surgery and/or rehabilitation.

Consumer advocacy groups and other concerned citizens and agencies spent years attempting to convince the FDA to issue stronger warnings of these risks to doctors and their patients. Finally, under threat of lawsuit, in 2008 the FDA developed Medical Guides and required the manufacturers of these drugs and other fluoroquinolones to add "black box warnings" to the packaging of their drugs.

Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen — the manufacturers of Cipro and Levaquin, respectively — may be liable for the harm caused by their drugs. To learn more about compensation for injuries related to Cipro, Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones, contact a personal injury attorney today.

Did You Know?

Ciprofloxacin (brand name Cipro) and levofloxacin (brand name Levaquin) are just two of the many types of fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs. Others include ofloxacin, norflaxacin, moxicfloxacin, gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin and trovafloxacin.